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Square shares fall on finance chief departure




Square’s chief financial officer is leaving to become chief executive of social network Nextdoor, sending the payments company’s shares down sharply in after-hours trading.

Square’s stock was down more than 8 per cent, extending a 10 per cent loss in regular trading as it was caught up in Wednesday’s broader technology sell-off.

The departure of Sarah Friar is a blow to the company she took public in November 2015 and to chief executive Jack Dorsey. Ms Friar is considered Mr Dorsey’s right hand and has played a key role in daily management of the company as Mr Dorsey splits his time between Square and Twitter, where he is also CEO.

“Sarah isn’t just a world class CFO. She’s a multidimensional leader who considered our entire business,” Mr Dorsey said in an email to staff on Wednesday. “Her team and role evolved through years of learning and building with us, and that’s not something you replace by simply hiring.”

Mr Dorsey said he was “saddened by the news” but congratulated Ms Friar on her new role, noting that it was “a life-long dream of hers” to be a CEO.

Square said it would begin a search for a new CFO led by David Viniar, its lead independent director and a former Goldman Sachs CFO. Ms Friar will stay at Square until December, the company said.

At Nextdoor, which runs private social networks for local neighbourhoods, Ms Friar will replace co-founder Nirav Tolia, who said in July he would step down as CEO after almost eight years in the job.

On Wednesday, Mr Tolia said in a blog post that Nextdoor “aspires to follow a similar path” to Square. “When [Ms Friar] joined Square as CFO in 2012, they were about the same size as Nextdoor is today,” he noted.



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